Gardens & Waterfalls

By Sue Ellis 09 May, 2016

Posted by Nick Polizzi from  The Sacred Science

Here we are, in the beginning of yet another beautiful spring. Something is rumbling beneath the soil, a thing of beauty waiting to burst from its cocoon, a promise made long ago that is about to be kept. This is a ripe time of year to reshuffle the deck, shed skins of the past, and give yourself a fresh start.

Here are 5 sacred life practices that have been used throughout the sands of time to usher in the spring and flourish in its green glory.

1) The Art Of Letting Go (of unneeded stuff)

We’re literally talking about physical stuff here. Not mental or emotional baggage, but the stack of boxes in your closet or garage that contain god-knows-what that you’ve been keeping for god-knows-why.

Our clutter collections sometimes feel completely justified and harmless, but I assure you they take up more space in our psyche and energy field than we realize.

I invite you to slap some spiritual symbolism on these cardboard and plastic keepers of memory, and see them as physical manifestations of inner blocks, just waiting to be dissolved.

Crack open these containers, and figure out what you actually need, and what might be useful to someone else. I know it may seem like a thankless task, but I guarantee you will start to feel lighter as you begin to find a new home for these belongings.

The local thrift shop or the Salvation Army are your best buds in this department.

2) Spiritual Scrub A Dub

Yeah, we all know about the importance of spring cleaning, but how about doing it with full presence, as a meditative practice?

In ancient Aztec culture, the act of sweeping held far more meaning than just cleaning your floor. It was considered a sacred art that could affect future outcomes in the household, in commerce, and on the battlefield. Pretty neat huh?

Cleaning out your refrigerator can either be a cumbersome chore or a practice in purifying and clearing the energy of your kitchen – your choice. The meaning you attach to your motion dictates everything.

3) Rearrange Your Home For Fresh Perspective

You’ve probably heard of the ancient Chinese art of Feng shui – which is centered on the belief that invisible forces or Qi bind the universe and can be harnessed for our benefit through the conscious design of space.

It was and is applied to the building of sacred places like temples, tombs, and palaces, but is also a powerful tool for your household.

This can be as simple as realigning your couch and coffee table to create a flow between two doorways, or as involved as determining how your space orients toward the sun, moon, stars, nearby mountains or bodies of water.

4) Planting New Seeds

When was the last time you planted a seed and nurtured it to a fully realized adult plant?

For thousands of years, gardening has been seen as a deep spiritual practice. The act of caring for and observing new life as it springs forth from a simple seed holds many untold teachings for us. Almost all the herbalists I know speak of the inner awakenings they experience regularly in their work with plants.

For some, this is a fairly regular practice (and extra herbal bonus points to you!), but for many of us it is not. We trick ourselves into believing that our lives are too busy to set aside that extra 10 minutes a day to nurture our green friends.

You don’t need to move to the country to start planting new seeds of your own. Our leafy neighbors like light and clean water. Aside from maybe a few tender words each day, that’s about it. All you need is a flat surface by a window to start your own garden.

Yes, you can go out and buy pre-grown plants, but I promise there is something magical about growing your own.

5) Clearing The Air

There is something primordial within us that connects deep meaning to the invisible elemental sea that surrounds us. Many native cultures consider the air itself to be full of life-force and laden with power.

With this in mind, there are a multitude of methods you can use to purify, refresh, and activate the air in your home. Opening all the windows and doors for 20 – 30 minutes is a good start, but you can really spruce things up by burning certain herbs and resins, as well as diffusing the right essential oils in your space.

Some herbs/resins we burn in our home are – Palo Santo, white sage and Copal. You can use a simple bowl, or purchase a more ceremonial vessel like an abalone shell. I like to guide the aromatic smoke into different areas of the room using my hand but if you’re called to use a feather or other fanning device, the possibilities are endless.

In terms of diffusing essential oils, we just purchased a pretty inexpensive diffuser and it works beautifully. Simply fill the diffuser with purified water and squeeze a few drops of your favorite essential oil(s) on top (we use cedar, eucalyptus, and lavender). Turn the diffuser on and enjoy the healing vapors.

I hope these 5 sacred practices serve you well as we walk toward the warmer months. These portals to our ancestral past each hold their own healing wisdom, just waiting to be unlocked.

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi

Director,  The Sacred Science

By Sue Ellis 24 Feb, 2016

I've just spent 16 days in Costa Rica absorbing the sun, the rain; coast, volcanoes, rain forest, birds, animals, reptiles, insects, friendly Ticos and embracing an atmosphere of hope. I was so aware that there was a radiating proud passion exuding from all who wished to share the magic of their homeland with me.

All too soon it was time to be at the airport hotel in San José for the imminent departure. It was a spacious luxurious hotel for sure, but once in one's room a sense of what city, what country am I in? A rude awakening from memories of palapa style accommodation or one with a floor to ceiling window displaying a volcano where we were awakened by the call of howler monkeys.

The day had started with me filming Scarlet Macaws nesting in a 400 year old ceiba tree (kapok) and now I was in an international hotel room somewhere. But there was something different as I walked the building. Orchids and other endemic plants were on display, area of garden were visible flaunting flowering bushes and trees and quiet corners with statues and greenery. I am not in the business of giving publicity to the corporate world and this is definitely not a promo blog, but I have to share my experience before leaving Costa Rica, something so Costa Rican to the end. The Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel embraces some of the Costa Rican values - preserving nature, being environmentally friendly and aiding the creation of a better world.

By Sue Ellis 04 Jan, 2016

This holiday season is always a time of ritual, sometimes religious, social or familial. As one's life changes, so new rituals are born. There are two which are fairly constant for me. I tend to see more movies at this time of the year than at any other time and I try to take in one on Christmas Day. The other is to visit the festive display in the Conservatory in Allan Gardens in Toronto. The park flaunts many old trees and there is a very busy off leash dog area. But centre stage are the glass houses filled with plants and trees, fish, amphibians and reptiles. On New Year's Day I entered, yet again, the Victoria style circular Palm House with its massive bananas, bamboo and screw pine. On display are roughly 40 varieties of poinsettias. This season's topiary displays are in the form of a skater and a tobogganer.  

By Sue Ellis 15 Sep, 2014
It is September. I love this time of year in the garden, pruning, dead heading, collecting seeds and picking vegetables. Then I sit on my shaded patio where dappled light filtres through tree branches, a cup of tea by my side. I plug in the water pump and my waterfall drops into the 12 foot river which then descends into the underground reservoir where the pump sits, to move the water back up.
By Sue Ellis 07 Jan, 2014

Allan Gardens is one of those beautiful public spaces in down town Toronto. Trees, grass, benches and off leash dog park on the outside and a 16,000 sq ft conservatory where tropical plants live, water falls, turtles and gold fish swim and seasonal flowering plants are constantly, lovingly, changed.

By Sue Ellis 09 Sep, 2013

I'm looking out my study window on a cool wet September day. I see my garden in its mature mantle. The veggie patch showing the decline of tomato and beans foliage but the abundant vibrancy of Brussels sprouts. I see my beloved dahlias. Closer to the path are immaculate sturdy blooms in pink and red, yellow and orange of seeds I planted in the spring. They too are among my favourite flowers. However, their name completely eludes me. It will come back. But it saddens me to know that inside of me there is so much more, that may never get out. Merrily I reel off the names of marigold, euphorbia, brugmansia; I see the yellow potentilla bushes, hostas and my green wooden wheeled wagon filled with pots of herbs. I see the cedars, yews, spruce and Japanese maple; the healthy lilacs and forsythia waiting to flower next spring.

By Sue Ellis 19 Dec, 2008

Gardens are organic. I don't necessarily mean that to define chemicals or no chemicals, but I mean organic in its constant evolving nature. Every garden has a story that is developing because of the people who touch it. It is like the quantum physics concept that everything that has been touched by a vibrating wave of energy will be forever changed by it.

My garden is like that. I have walked its length and breadth since 1986 and the past present and future are tied into every rustling leaf, every bird that lands, every cat that walks through it and is evident in every raccoon dug-hole. It is as if the story teller never ceases spinning yarns.

 I like that. Even in the winter I still can view my garden from my office window. I enlarged the window and placed my computer at an angle towards it. I just have to let my eyes turn to the left, hardly moving my head and the whole story is evident. 

By Sue Ellis 24 Jun, 2008

We planted the apricot tree in our garden in May 1998, a symbol of life’s continuation for us. Sue, my partner, was soon to go into hospital for a tracheotomy. A procedure that was going to help with suctioning secretions from her compromised lungs. Sue had Multiple Sclerosis and was regularly getting aspiration pneumonia. Her body was dying. She was not ready to go. She still had too much living to do. Along with swallowing problems she could not speak so all our communication was via her head nodding in response to questions with yes or no answers.

Sue survived the surgery and that summer and fall we watched the apricot tree grow and eventually as winter came, the leaves drop off. Sue died at the end of March 1999. I went into the garden to look at our tree of life. I found the winter had harmed not one branch and buds abounded. Later in April there was a memorial service at our church for Sue. I placed forsythia boughs from the garden in a vase at the spot where she, in her wheelchair, had sat so many Sundays. The Apricot tree was in full bloom.

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